Musical concert celebrates zoo’s most famous residents


THE world premiere of Panda Suite by Eddie McGuire, a unique musical partnership between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and Children’s Classic Concerts (CCC), is to take place this Sunday.

To be unveiled live at The Macrobert in Stirling, the piece of music celebrates iconic giant pandas Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) and their arrival in Scotland from China

Specially commissioned by CCC and RZSS, with investment from Creative Scotland, the music reflects both the musical traditions of China and Scotland.

The music will celebrate the Zoo’s Chinese visitors

Panda Suite is written and performed by award-winning Scottish composer Eddie McGuire, who will be joined by virtuoso percussionists and Children’s Classic Concerts’ presenters Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox, and the choir of The Mary Erskine and Stewart’s Melville Junior School. Comprising three movements, the music describes the pandas’ journey from China to Scotland.

The first movement, ‘Pandas Dreaming: Journey to the West’ features a Chinese wooden flute and bamboo chimes to evoke bamboo rustling and bird song in the remote mountainous regions of China.

The second movement, ‘Bonnie Pandas Welcome Here’, is a song for children’s choir that introduces elements of Scottish music as the children welcome the pandas to their new home in Edinburgh.  The third and final movement is a lively and rhythmic ‘Panda Dance’.

Manus Fullerton, Chair of the RZSS, said: “Creating a piece of music that embraced the sounds, culture and traditional instruments of Scotland and China was a wonderful way to commemorate such a momentous event for Scotland.  We feel Panda Suite is a glorious representation of the magnificent symbols of endangered animal conservation – the giant pandas – that now reside at Edinburgh Zoo.  We hope that for years to come this music will be played at concerts and downloaded from our website to mark this very special achievement.”

Oliver Cox, Artistic Director and presenter of Children’s Classic Concerts, continued: “We are all delighted with Panda Suite.  Eddie has created a wonderfully evocative piece that we know will appeal to everyone.  It is a fantastic piece to play and we are really looking forward to performing it live on Sunday and we are sure it is going to become a firm favourite with Children’s Classic Concerts fans – including two special furry ones who may put in an appearance at the concert!”

Panda Suite will be performed as part of Bang on!, the latest offering in CCC’s series of touring concerts.

Bang on! features the percussion – from melodic marimbas to a bewildering array of apparatus – all presented in Children’s Classic Concerts’ inimitable family-friendly style by Owen and Olly with a little bit of help from their best mates Chris Woodham and Sam Staunton.

As always at Children’s Classic Concerts there will be amazing tunes, lots of laughs and audience participation – and oh yes, and there will be giant pandas too.

The performance commences at 3pm on Sunday 29th April at the Macrobert in Stirling.  Tickets cost £6 for children and £10 for adults and are available from the Macrobert Box Office on 01786 466666 or online at